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The New Yorker's Eustace Tilley Gets A Makeover

Above: Rea Irvin's original Eustace Tilley as he first appeared on the cover 

 Recently, New Yorker Magazine held a contest asking readers to redefine Eustace Tilley, the magazine’s presiding dandy. They received nearly three hundred ideas, from the erotic to the pontifical (their words).
First, here's a little trivia about Eustace Tilley:


He was first drawn by an artist named Rea Irvin, who also designed the famous New Yorker Typeface which still serves as their masthead.(Irvin derived the image from an 1834 drawing of a Count D’Orsay, “man of Fashion in Early Victorian Period,” that he found reproduced in the costume section of the Encyclop√¶dia Britannica.) He was named by Corey Ford, an adman who was a friend of Harold Ross's--Tilley after Ford's aunt, and Eustace just because it sounded right Eustace Tilley has shown up on almost every anniversary cover since. New Yorker readers have become used to him, but it’s not much clearer eighty years later what he’s supposed to represent. Beginning in 1994, efforts were made to do something to his image, which seems, after all, to have little connection to New York City. This recent 'contest' is certainly not the first time artists have reinterpreted Eustace Tilley. 

 Here is a selection of Tilley covers and portfolio pages from the past eight decades, along with some contemporary sketches by New York artists:

  Just a few covers by some of the better known artists:
Above: 2 covers by Art Speigelman 
Above left, William Wegman. Above right, Robert Crumb 

 And some interesting interpretations by various artists:
Above left, Charles Burns. Above right, Anita Kunz

Above left, Raoul Colon. Above right, Harry Bliss

Above: three renderings by artist Marcellus Hall 

 Eustace Tilley has also been drawn by Paul Davis, Red Grooms, Roz Chast, Fernando Botero, and Ronald Searle, to name a few. 

 Below are images of the 20 winners of this recent competition, a sample of which will also appear in the February 11th & 18th issue of the magazine, their 83rd anniversary issue:


 You can view the entries on their contest page on 

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